Diagnosis and symptoms

My father was never formally diagnosed with PSP, I understand that diagnosis is virtually impossible as so many symptoms are similar to Parkinson’s, and in my father’s case until the last year we thought he had some form of dementia. When all the main types of dementia had been ruled out we started running out of ideas, Parkinson seemed possible but didn’t explain the mental fog that clouded his brain. PSP was first introduced as a possibility only 11 months before his death when an old friend mentioned that her father-in-law was displaying similar symptoms and was believed to have PSP. Even when as a family we looked into it further PSP never seemed conclusive as the physical manifestations are often the main focus of PSP literature, not so much the dementia-like symptoms. For my father the deterioration of his brain went hand in hand with the deterioration of his body.

From the time he first started displaying PSP symptoms to his death from aspiration pneumonia four and a half years later PSP began, slowly at first, rapidly towards the end, to consume every part of his being until he was wheelchair bound, unable to communicate and virtually no part of the person I knew remained.